Harry Potter star Alan Rickman dies at 69

The Hollywood and Harry Potter fans mourned Thursday as the best-loved villain Alan Rickman died at the age of 69 after secret battle with cancer, his family confirmed today.

Harry Potter star Alan Rickman dies at 69
British actor Alan Rickman, known as 'Snape' in Harry Potter series dies at 69.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Studios
According to reports, the British actor kept mum on his fight with illness before his death.

The Harry Potter and Robin Hood star died in hospital this morning, surrounded by relatives and friends.

His brother David, 71, said to press: "He passed away this morning. He was in a hospital at the time."

Rickman became one of the best-known villains in showbiz - appearing as Hans Gruber in Die Hard, the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films.

The actor's other well-known films include Truly, Madly, Deeply, Sense and Sensibility and Love Actually, in which he played the wife of his frequent collaborator Emma Thompson.

J.K. Rowling, Daniel Radcliffe pay tribute to Alan Rickman

In two emotional posts, Harry Potter novel writer J.K. Rowling wrote there were "no words" to describe how she felt on hearing the news.

Radcliffe also released a statement honouring Rickman via his Google Plus page.

"Alan Rickman is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors I will ever work with. He is also, one of the loyalest and most supportive people I've ever met in the film industry. He was so encouraging of me both on set and in the years post-Potter. I'm pretty sure he came and saw everything I ever did on stage both in London and New York. He didn't have to do that. I know other people who've been friends with him for much much longer than I have and they all say 'if you call Alan, it doesn't matter where in the world he is or how busy he is with what he's doing, he'll get back to you within a day'".

"People create perceptions of actors based on the parts they played so it might surprise some people to learn that contrary to some of the sterner(or downright scary) characters he played, Alan was extremely kind, generous, self-deprecating and funny. And certain things obviously became even funnier when delivered in his unmistakable double-bass."

"As an actor he was one of the first of the adults on Potter to treat me like a peer rather than a child. Working with him at such a formative age was incredibly important and I will carry the lessons he taught me for the rest of my life and career. Film sets and theatre stages are all far poorer for the loss of this great actor and man."

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